Chapter 4 – Letting go of what we know


Watching this disease take pieces of my Mom is very difficult. I just do what needs to be done and try to stay positive. She is so quiet sometimes, there is no idle chatter about the girls said this or we did that. I worry that one day simply melts into another for her. She goes through the motions but I wonder how she really feels. I ask her how she is and she is “fine”. That has been her standard response for months now. Lately she will say ” I am fine right? ” “Yes Mom you are great”.

I have been concerned that she is not eating. She says that she has lots to eat but I am not convinced. I don’t think she is preparing meals for herself.  I ask her if she is cooking and she says she is eating, and I honestly think she doesn’t know.  We had an appointment with her doctor and my suspicions were confirmed as she had lost 6lbs. since her last visit. This now becomes the new challenge.

I purchased small casserole dishes and I am making meals and putting them in her fridge with numbers taped on the lids. If I am not able to drop in at dinnertime I call and say “take casserole #2 and put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Remember to use the oven mitts to take the casserole out of the microwave as it is hot!” We will chat while she waits for the dish to heat up and then she hangs up and takes it out of the microwave.  I have 3 sets of oven mitts beside the microwave and remind her to put them on before she opens the microwave door. I call again to ensure that she is eating. Thank goodness for the portable phone, she has one with her at all times. She has 4 in her apartment and we have not lost any yet!

She seems to be managing this new meal program quite well. There is lots of fresh fruit and other goodies around the apartment and I can see a difference in her wellness. Interesting there were fruit and goodies before but she did not eat them. The constant reminding to eat is keeping her on track. I have at least one meal with her during the week and she comes for a meal to our home weekly as well. Some of the challenges are very hard. I do not have great support from my sibling. I have tried to discuss issues and there are times when they are all in and other times it seems so difficult to convey the message. This in turn becomes frustrating and then I just simply do it myself (with my nuclear family). I know this is not the best way but sometimes it is the only way that I can survive through it. For any of you that are. or have been caregivers I am sure you have had the same dilemma in your life.

Life for all of us has changed so much it is sometimes hard to deal with it. I miss my Mom, the woman I talked to and laughed with and so often sought advice. I miss that woman and I want her back. I know that can’t happen and I struggle with how to accept that. The Alzheimer Society has great support groups and they certainly help when I need it. Having someone to talk to that understands this disease is so important on this journey. This disease is very personal, it affects each person differently and turning to someone for support is such a blessing!